Hebrew Barrister· Registered
Please tell me this post is true, so I can fall over in laughter. Sarariman? I'm going to hell for my amusement at that one.The story goes that Japanese suffered from a linguistic bottleneck - that is, the founding group of people from whence Japanese originally arose was small and hence the "authentic Japanese" vocabulary is itself small. Consequently importing words from foreign languages is both necessary and unremarkable.
The results nonetheless amuse - e.g., "sarariman" = "salaryman" or white-collar worker; "esukareta" = "escalator", etc. There was a London Japanese newssheet called the "London Dayori" - "dayori" being the transliteration into English of the transliteration into Japanese of the word "diary". When I worked in Tokyo for a couple of months in 1987, my regular order at the local coffee shop was "espressu larju tekato" with a shot of "miruku". And years later, I heard a women at the next table asking the waiter for an "apuru jusu".
Finally, "karaoke" has two phonemes, "kara-" meaning "empty" as in "karate" - "empty hand", and "-oke" from...orchestra.